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Pfizer-BioNTech & AstraZeneca Vaccines Effective Against Indian Variant

A new preprint study published from Public Health England, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London, and University of Oxford, using data from April 5 to May 16, 2021, has found that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines offer protection against the new Indian variant (B.1.617).

The protective level against the B.1.617 variant initially detected in India is less when compared to the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain, however is still up to 87.9% effective (95% Confidence Interval: 78.2% to 93.2%) after two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, and up to 59.8% effective (95% Confidence Interval: 28.9% to 77.3%) after two shots for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This is good news, especially for those who have received both shots of the respective vaccines, as the protective levels appear to be only single digit percentages less when compared to the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strains.

However, it should be noted that, as the protective levels are less, it is still more likely for someone to be infected with the Indian variant, even if they are vaccinated. In the US, the CDC has stated that those who have been fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks when outdoors and even in indoor spaces. After being fully vaccinated, it is up to each individual to decide if they are willing to take the risk of being mask-less, especially in enclosed indoor locations with poor ventilation.


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